The firm’s marketing budget is top of the hit list and will be slashed by 20 per cent next year. That could spell the end of M&S’s celebrity-studded advertisements, which feature Erin O’Connor, Twiggy, Lily Cole and Myleene Klass.
“I don’t take any pride in it but I’ve been saying for some nine months that there are tough times coming,” said the company’s chief executive Sir Stuart Rose in an interview with BBC reporter Robert Peston.
When asked about Primark, which has managed to defy the high-street slump with a 17 per cent rise in operating profits, Sir Stuart retorted: “Primark’s market share is static… There’s room for both of us.”
He admitted M&S will “have to hunker down” and claimed that “you won’t find many businessmen saying 2009 is going to be a fabulous year”.